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Mar 8, 2013

Cortese speaks out against FFP

Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese has hit out at the Premier League's plans to introduce Financial Fair Play regulations.

• Blog: Saints must learn lessons

Unlike some top-flight teams, the Saints reported a profit of £0.9 million for the last six months of 2012, with the increased income of gaining promotion last season aiding their cause. The south-coast club can also boast of a wage bill that is 59% of their turnover.

However, despite healthy finances that would see Southampton be able to comply with the new regulations, Cortese is adamant that owners should be allowed to run their clubs however they choose.

"Our results also demonstrate we are already operating within the spirit of likely new Premier League financial regulations in respect of average profits and losses over three years," he said.

"We believe very strongly that each club should continue to be permitted to run their business - including their pay rolls - as they see fit. This is fundamental to the future integrity of football."

The Saints' latest financial results also show that total revenue, excluding player trading, nearly trebled from £11.6 million to £33.1 million. Average attendances were also on the increase, rising 16% to 30,372.

Southampton chief financial officer Gareth Rogers said: "Our first six months in the Barclays Premier League show the dramatic impact promotion has had on the club. However, the significant increase in turnover has not deterred us from our stated aim of financial prudence in the top division.

"I am delighted to report the club's first profit without the aid of player trading since 2005, which demonstrates that prudence in football can be achieved whilst significant investment, both on and off the field, is still being made."

Southampton were one of six Premier League teams that opted to vote against the new financial regulations during a Premier League chairmen's meeting last month, and Cortese is the first club chief to speak out publicly against them.

The regulations will place a restriction on the amount of losses clubs can make, while also placing a wage restriction on teams. Chairmen will be presented with the detailed spending control plans at a meeting in April.

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